Social change is the central focus in most of the founding thinkers of sociology’s work. This social change is based on the conceptualization of history as an evolution. According to these sociologists, a modern society arises as a result of the inevitable consequence of the growth of knowledge and understanding especially in the field of science and rationality. However, there are no clear indications on when a society can be viewed as having moved from one stage of modernity to the next.
A characteristic of the present society which is astonishing does not lie in its level of industrialization but on its level of integration across various cultures. (Holmes, Hughes & Julian 34) Social integration is a phenomenon that has received much popularity in the last decade. The entire human race has achieved a level of cultural cohesion that has not been realized before. The traditional cultural boundaries are slowly dissolving and a new universal culture is emerging. The differences in religion, color, ideology, tradition and perception are slowly merging.
The society is adopting a general culture which is characterized by a uniformity in norms, values and beliefs. In all the six continents, there is a growing trend in information technology which perpetuates cultural diffusion. Today, individuals of diverse cultural background can easily interact through such mediums like the internet. Efficiency in the transport system has resulted in more people coming into contact with each other. However, it has been difficult to classify this current trend owing to its multifaceted nature.
Such terms like modern, postmodern, global and cosmopolitan have been used frequently to describe this current trend. Even though all these terms may be used to describe some of its characteristics, in most cases, their use is normally interchanged. We may not be very far from the truth should we adopt to refer to the current human population as belonging to the same society and cultural orientation. In its actual definition, society can be termed as an interacting group of people with a common sense of identity and culture, living within a particular geographical region. Giddens 2)With this regard, I will consider the planet earth a geographical region.
Sociologist have drawn together a number of elements that characterize a modern society. These elements are dominant in the contemporary world and they include the rise of science, the decline of religion, industrialization, mass communication, bureaucracy, division of labor, urbanization and an increasing comprehension of the various aspects of the human life. However, these characteristics fail to capture the complete picture this time.
Bureaucracy was a 17th Century invention. Industrialization even though a characteristic of this society does not really distinguish it from the 18th Century ages and therefore cannot be a distinct factor in classifying this society. We also cannot say that we are experiencing the rise of science. We are actually in the midst of science. In other words, this society cannot be described by these elements that sociologists stated. Thus, we are living at a time of transition mainly characterized by a change of perception towards life.
This change of perception is a universal element which has passed through every society consciously or unconsciously. The human society is living at the age of post modernism. (Hall and McGrew 13) In the present society, there is a general belief that no single universally agreed upon principle of belief and organization exists. Even though there is remarkable progress in science, there is a general position that it has failed to give explanation and control to various aspects of the society. Another characteristic of this time which is an element of post modernism is the fragmentation of academic disciplines.
There is no single paradigm which explains the human condition in the society. Post modernism itself means different things to different thinkers. Being a relatively current theory of society, various sociologists remark that it is an attempt to falsify sociology’s founding father’s work. As a theory of society, its basic premise is that social history has progressed in a way that the founders of sociology did not conceptualize. The founders of sociology held the view that history may end with industrialization while actually it has progressed by it.
However, this progress has led to confusion about the nature and the subsequent direction of the society. The founding fathers could not conceptualize the current system which is characterized by the rise of relativity and the decline of absolute truth. With an increase in interactions coupled with the breaking of cultural and social barriers, the present society has lost purpose and direction. Post modernity best describe this time because the society has developed an attitude in which there are no certain truths about the world.
This has led to modification and subsequent incorporation of various ideologies across all cultures. With regard to art, there exists a universality in appreciation and expression across all cultures. Different artistic styles are coordinated and incorporated in a single element thereby building a unique cultural system which integrates different elements in various cultural practices into one. For instance, music is a blend of various tunes from different regions, the construction of buildings follow popular designs and more different races work towards the same goals.
The society has moved from state characterized by industrialization and urbanization to a state of human integration and purpose. The representation of society through multifaceted and diverse cultures has made the world to be a powerful yet confused in its understanding of life. This is the society that we live in today. The concept of post modernity is a recent one which was introduced in the arts and architecture. Today, it has spread across the various aspects of life and is yet to be accepted as the general name for this period in the history of the human society.
The development of the post modern society traces its roots on the historical processes of the great transformation and modernity. Its existence in our world today cannot be denied. The period which was marked by the processes of industrialization and the expansion of capitalism saw the beginning of an era of modernity. (Krieken, Habibis, Smith, Hutchins, Haralambos, & Holborn 65). This era continued through the last century and today, we are experiencing a change in the human society.
The accumulation of the process of change has resulted into this period which can justifiably be termed post modernism. The society has evolved to the extent that new conceptions and structures are developing that are bound to replace the existing ones. As much as we may refer to it as global, cosmopolitan or multicultural society, one apparent thing is that it has evolved from the society that existed prior to the invention of advanced information technology. This can only be referred to as a post modern society.